Our wildfire season Isn't Over, So Be Careful on Labor Day Weekend

Washington appears to be having a good wildfire season this year after several challenging ones in the past. 

Fire safety must continue to be a major priority as we approach Labor Day weekend even though the season is not yet done.

To be honest, this year has been a welcome vacation.

There have been 381 ignitions as of August 26—the fewest fires set in a decade. A total of 39,000 acres had burnt, which is less than the 10-year average by around 100,000 acres.

Unluckily, a rainy spring also results in higher grass that dries out in the summer heat and becomes what firefighters refer to as "grassoline."

All we need to do to keep in mind how quickly things may change is to go back to the Labor Day firestorm of 2020.

A DNR study states that by Labor Day, many fires had spread around the state due to a windstorm, burning more than 500,000 acres in just 36 hours.

The Legislature established a dedicated funding source for wildfire response, forest restoration, and community resilience last year under the leadership of Franz and state representatives Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, and Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda.

The DNR was able to acquire two new Kodiak multi-mission aircraft and put 40 new wildfire dozers into service because of this funding. 

According to authorities, the financing has also assisted in growing projects for planned burns and forest health, both of which are essential preventative measures.

Despite the possibility of lightning strikes, between 80% and 90% of all wildfires are started by people, notably through campfires left unattended and the burning of rubbish.

For a long time, the state is experiencing its safest fire season. It is up to every Washingtonian to do their part to keep it that way.